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Strike Two: Emerson Hit With Lawsuit On Eminent Domain

Morristown Attorney Richard De Angelis threatening the Emerson Mayor and Council with a lawsuit on Jan. 17.
Morristown Attorney Richard De Angelis threatening the Emerson Mayor and Council with a lawsuit on Jan. 17. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash

EMERSON, N.J. — Attorney Richard De Angelis of Morristown is making good on a threat he delivered in January: he filed a lawsuit Monday calling for Emerson to rescind all its actions concerning the controversial condemnation zone downtown.

RELATED: Emerson Allows Condemnation Zone; Suit Threatened

His client, 214 Kinderkamack LLC, owns 9 Lincoln Boulevard, 15 Lincoln Boulevard and 214 Kinderkamack Road in the now well-known Block 419.

Currently, designated properties in that block can be taken through eminent domain — if the borough deems them necessary to carry out its redevelopment plans in the area.

“We’re asking the court to rescind the current designation of the properties that was enacted in January,” said DeAngelis, who filed the suit in Bergen County Superior Court.

“We’re also asking that it bar the town from taking any action against our property under the redevelopment plan.”

Most importantly, the suit asks the court to stop the borough from taking the three lots through eminent domain.

The move is the second legal action the zone has inspired in as many weeks.

Last week, the Institute for Justice, a nonprofit public interest law firm, announced its representation of Stop Emerson Eminent Domain (SEED), a group of small business owners and residents.

In a letter, the institute called on the Emerson governing body to do three things:

  • Rescind the designation of Block 419 as a condemnation redevelopment zone;
  • Decommission its study of Emerson’s Central Business District;
  • Publicly disavow the use of eminent domain for private development.

RELATED: Justice Institute To Emerson: Drop Eminent Domain

In his suit, DeAngelis also challenges the very existence of the zone.

He cites procedural problems in creating it and contends there is no evidence to support the properties as an area in need of redevelopment.

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